Gladys Osborne Leonard,
Medium Gladys Osborne Leonard. UK
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Gladys Osborne Leonard. England. UK
Born May 28, 1882-1968
A GREAT MEDIUM is a rare phenomenon, rarer than a great painter or piano virtuoso. The world has produced only a few Mediums whose powers were so outstanding that they could be called great; Gladys Osborne Leonard is one of these.
A lady to whom Mrs. Leonard was once introduced as a famous Medium said with surprise, But you look quite sensible. It is true that some well-known sensitives have been bizarre characters. It is not easy for them to live normally for numerous reasons: they are often revered inordinately by uncritical followers; many psychiatrists consider them hysterics; the public tends to class them as frauds. Some Mediums, however, have managed to live wholesome, fruitful lives, and such a one is Mrs. Leonard. She is a quiet woman of common sense and integrity, now over eighty years of age.
Many persons who came for sittings with her during her long period of activity became convinced they had communicated with their deceased relatives and friends and this was enough to satisfy them. Certain other sitters had more objective goals in mind. Most of these hoped to receive material so veridical that it would stand up to scientific analysis as survival evidence. Therefore, they wished to work within the framework of carefully controlled supervision and to keep exact records of everything that was said. They welcomed discussion and suggestions from other researchers.
It is with this band of patient workers that this book will be primarily concerned. They, with their determination and perseverance, their willingness to sit for many hours taking notes in stuffy, semi-darkened seance rooms, have made Mrs. Osborne Leonard the most carefully researched and documented medium in history. For over fifty years she was studied by some of the best investigators of the British and American Societies for Psychical Research.
Sir Oliver Lodge, the famous physicist, gave considerable time to Mrs. Leonard s mediumship. The Reverend Charles Drayton Thomas had over 500 sittings with her, all fully recorded. Radclyffe-Hall (the author) and Una, Lady Troubridge, had weekly sittings with her for eight years, and carefully preserved every word that was spoken. The Reverend W. S. Irving sat two or three times a year for more than 22 years. Mrs. Lydia W. Allison of the United States made frequent trips to England from 1921 to 1927 in order to sit with Mrs. Leonard and other mediums. Mrs. W. H. Salter, a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research, gave countless hours to sittings with Mrs. Leonard. Miss Nea Walker, Sir Oliver Lodge's Psychical secretary, made regular visits for nineteen years as a "proxy sitter" on behalf of other people.
Lodge was already well known as a Psychical researcher when he first met Mrs. Leonard. He can be credited with discovering her outstanding talents. In 1916 he had just lost his son Raymond in the war. He and his wife visited Mrs. Leonard, anonymously at first, and received information which impressed them. Continuing his sittings with her, Sir Oliver came to believe that his son was actually communicating with him. In his book Raymond he reported the messages he had received and the evidential material' which had convinced him.
As one of several episodes seeming to establish the survival of his son's personality and memory, Sir Oliver relates in Raymond the story of a certain group photograph. He knew nothing about its existence until he was told of it by two mediums, Mrs. Leonard and A. Vout Peters.
Raymond was killed September 14, 1915. On September 27 Lady Lodge attended a sitting with Peters, during which the following message was received:
You have several portraits of this boy. Before he went away you had a good portrait of him-two-no, three. Two where he is alone and one where he is in a group with other men. He is particular that I should tell you of this. In one you see his walking-stick. [Sir Oliver Lodge, Raymond, New York, George H. Doran Co., 1916.]
"We had single photographs of Raymond, of course," Sir Oliver writes, "and in uniform, but we did not know of the existence of any photograph in which he was one of a group; and Lady Lodge was skeptical about it, thinking that it might well be only a shot or guess on the part of the medium as something probable. I was myself, however, rather impressed with the emphasis laid on it-'he is particular I should tell you of this'-and accordingly made a half-hearted inquiry or two; but nothing more was heard on the subject for two months. On Monday, November 29, however, a letter came from Mrs. Cheves, a stranger to us, mother of Captain Cheves of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who had known Raymond and had reported to us concerning the nature of his wound. " Mrs. Cheves' letter, dated November 28, 1915, ran as follows:
My son, who is Medical Officer to the Second South Lancers has sent us a group of officers taken in August, and I wondered whether you knew of this photo and had a copy. If not, may I send you one, for we have half a dozen and also a key.
Sir Oliver wrote to her at once. The picture was not received until the afternoon of December 7. On December 6 Lady Lodge found an entry in Raymond's diary, which had been returned from the front, that a photo had been taken on August 24. The exposure was thus made only twenty-one days before his death, and some time may have elapsed before he saw a print, if indeed he ever saw one; he had never mentioned it in his letters.
On December 3, before the picture was received, Lodge visited Mrs. Leonard, whose trance control, Feda, also described it in some detail. For the sake of possible later evidence, he put this information into a letter which he mailed to another researcher on December 6, the day before the picture arrived from Mrs. Cheves. This letter ran:
Concerning that photograph which Raymond mentioned through the medium A. Vout Peters (saying this: One where he is in a group of other men. He is particular that I should tell you this. In one you will see his walking stick.), he has said some more about it through Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard. But he is doubtful about the stick. What he says is that there is a considerable number of men in the photograph; that the front row is sitting, and that there is a back row, or some of the people grouped and set up at the back; also that there are a dozen or more people in the photograph, and that some of them he hardly knew; that a man whose name begins with B is prominent in the photograph, and that there is also a C; that he himself is sitting down, and that there are people behind him, one of whom either leaned on his shoulder, or tried to. The photograph may come any day now, so I send this off before I get it.
Sir Oliver writes later:
The photograph was delivered at Mariemont between three and four p.m. on the afternoon of December 7. Considered as a photograph of Raymond it is bad, but considered as evidence it is good. For on examining the photograph, we found that every peculiarity mentioned by Raymond, unaided by the medium, was strikingly correct. The walking stick is there, but Peters had put the stick under his arm (which is not correct), and in connection with the background, Mrs. Leonard's control had, by gesture, emphasized vertical lines. There are six prominent vertical lines on the roof of the shed, but the horizontal lines in the background generally are equally conspicuous.
By a "mixed lot," we understood members of different companies -not all belonging to Raymond's company, but a collection from the several. This must be correct, as they are too numerous for one company. As to "prominence," I have asked several people which member of the group seemed to them the most prominent, and except as regards central position, a well-lighted standing figure on the right has usually been pointed to as most prominent. This one is 'B' as stated.
There is also an officer whose name began with C. Some of the group are sitting while others are standing behind. Raymond is one of the sitting, and his walking stick or regulation cane is lying across his feet. The background is dark, and is conspicuously lined. It is out of doors, close in front of a shed or military hut, pretty much as suggested to me by the statements made in the Leonard sitting-what I called a "shelter."
But by far the most striking piece of evidence is the fact that someone sitting behind Raymond is leaning or resting a hand on his shoulder. The photograph fortunately shows the actual occurrence, and almost indicates that Raymond was rather annoyed with it; for his face is a little screwed up, and his head has been slightly bent to one side out of the way of the man's arm. It is the only case in the photograph where one man is leaning or resting his hand on the shoulder of another, and I judge that it is a thing not unlikely to be remembered by the one to whom it occurred.
Through information supplied by Mrs. Cheves I obtained prints of all the accessible photographs which had been taken at the same time. I found that the group had been repeated, with slight variations, three times-the officers all in the same relative positions but not in identically the same attitudes. One of them is the same as the one we had seen, with his hand resting on Raymond's shoulder, and Raymond's head leaning a little on one side, as if rather annoyed.
In another the hand had been removed, being supported by a stick, and in that one Raymond's head is upright. This corresponds to his uncertainty as to whether he was actually taken with this man leaning on him or not. In a third variation, however, Captain S.'s leg rests on or touches Raymond's shoulder, and the slant of the head and slight look of annoyance have returned.
As to the evidential value of the whole communication, it will be observed that there is something of the nature of cross-correspondence, of a simple kind, in the fact that a reference to the photograph was made by one medium, and details given by another in answer to a quest ' ion which I had asked about it; the communicator showing awareness that previous reference was made through another channel.
And the elimination of ordinary telepathy from the living, except under the far-fetched hypothesis of the unconscious influence of complete strangers, was exceptionally complete; inasmuch as all of the information was recorded before any of us had seen the photograph.
The publication of Raymond gave great impetus to Mrs. Leonard's career, which had begun shortly before she met Sir Oliver Lodge. She was born May 28, 1882 at Lytham, on the coast of Lancashire, England, the eldest of the four children of Isabel and William Jocelyn Osborne. Her father was a wealthy yachting enthusiast, and the family spent much of its time on his yacht. For this reason the children had little formal schooling. Gladys had a governess until she was eleven years old.
From her earliest childhood she exhibited capabilities which would some day set her apart from others as a medium. She had frequent visions of what she called her "Happy Valleys" until her family learned about them. She tells us that she saw the most beautiful places-valleys, gentle slopes, lovely trees and banks covered with flowers. [Gladys Osborne Leonard, My Life in Two Worlds, London, Cassell, 1931.] Walking about in couples or in groups were people who looked radiantly happy. They were dressed in graceful flowing draperies, and every movement, gesture and expression suggested a state of quiet ecstasy.
She did not look upon these visions as anything abnormal or unusual. "Some instinct bade me keep silent about them," she writes, "but I thought everybody else around me must see these views, or similar ones. . . ."
One morning when her father was about to go on a trip, she was having her breakfast with him as a special treat. As her favorite view of the Happy Valley unfolded before her on the dining room wall, she felt a desire to share it with her father, and said:
"Isn't that a specially beautiful place we are seeing this morning?"
"What place?" he asked.
"That place," she answered, pointing to a wall which to him was bare except for two guns hanging on it. "What are you talking about?" her father asked. Her explanation brought the whole family around her in a state of anxiety and annoyance.
"At first they thought I was making it up," she says, "but as I was so persistent, and described many of the visions so minutely, they were forced to the conclusion that there was something in it-something not in line with their conventional way of looking at things. I was sternly forbidden to look at the Happy Valley again."
With an effort she was able to suppress her visions, and they gradually stopped coming. But because of her extreme sensitivity, life was not easy for her. "Childhood to me was a time of pain and torture rather than the carefree, merry time it is usually supposed to be," she writes. Then her family came upon a period of great financial trouble as she was entering her teens. Through her own efforts she managed to train herself to be a professional singer, but when she was to go into opera an attack of diphtheria affected her voice. She later went on the stage with touring theatrical companies, singing and dancing juvenile leads and comedy parts. At about this time she began singing on Sunday at a Spiritualist Church. There she was told by a medium that "your guides are preparing you for an important spiritual work."
Her mother had not been well, but no one suspected she was seriously ill. One night Gladys went to visit friends in a neighbouring town. At 2 a.m. she was awakened with the sudden feeling that something unusual was happening:
I looked up and saw in front of me, but about five feet above the level of my body, a large, circular patch of light about four feet in diameter. In this light I saw my mother quite distinctly. Her face looked several years younger than I had seen it a few hours before. A pink flush of health was on her checks, her eyes were clear and shining, and a smile of utter happiness was on her lips. She gazed down on me for a moment, seeming to convey to me an intense feeling of relief and a sense of safety and well-being. Then the vision faded. I was wide awake all the time, quite conscious of my surroundings.
The next morning she learned that her mother had died at 2 a.m.
Not long after Gladys Osborne met an actor named Frederick Leonard, whom she soon married. Busy learning to be a good housewife, while continuing her acting career, she hardly expected that she would soon be spending time developing her mediumship. But during "waits" between their performances, she and two other actresses began to play at table-tipping in their dressing room.
One day after they had been sitting for some time with no results, she says, The table began to move. [Mrs. Leonard's Account of her Meeting with Feda P. 141, Pamela Gicnconner, The Earthen Vessel, London, John Land, the Bodley Head, 1921.] We received messages from several friends, spelled out by means of tilting the table; my mother communicated, and several others, then a long name was spelled out beginning with F. We could not pronounce it, so we asked if we might select a few of the letters, and make use of those as a name. The answer yes was given, so we picked Out FEDA and this is how my acquaintance with Feda originated.
Feda told them that she was to be Gladys' spirit control. She also said she was Gladys' great-great-grandmother, a Hindu by birth, who had been raised by a Scottish family until the age of thirteen. At that time she had married an Englishman, William Hamilton, and died a year later giving birth to a son. (Mrs. Leonard recalled that her mother had told her about this Hindu ancestress, but she had paid little attention to the details.) Feda then told them that she was in a hurry to learn to control Gladys because she had work to do through her, that something very important was going to happen on earth and their services would be wanted.
The question of Feda s real nature has been discussed for many years. Is she a dramatization by Mrs. Leonard's subconscious self. Is she what she purports to be-the spirit of a young girl who once lived on earth? Or is she a secondary personality, able to take possession only in the trance state. For the present, it suffices to say that Mrs. Leonard herself has always firmly believed that Feda is just what she says she is-her Hindu ancestor.
The idea of losing her identity in trance was repugnant to Gladys, and she fought it for months. Then one night as the table-tipping seance was being held under the stage of the newly-built Palladium Theatre in London (the only quiet spot to be found), she took a little nap. When she awoke she learned that she had been in a state of trance, and that Feda had spoken through her.
Thus began a long "association" of a most unusual nature. The Feda personality and Gladys were friends; sometimes they seemed almost rivals, sparring for the use of the body known as Gladys Osborne Leonard. But they were never able to communicate with each other except with the assistance of a sitter who would relay their messages.
Feda asked the sitters to tell Gladys that it was her destiny to be a great medium, and that she must sit regularly to develop her powers. After that Gladys made it a practice to sit often, trying to improve her psychic ability. Eighteen months later Feda said they now were proficient, and Gladys must take up mediumship professionally.
I was very diffident about it, Mrs. Leonard tells us, as I did not think I could do this work to order; but Feda promised she would look after me. Feda insisted that something big and terrible was going to happen to the world. Feda must help many people through you, she said.
So Gladys Osborne the actress became Mrs. Osborne Leonard the medium. She embarked on a series of public sittings in London. Even from the first these meetings paid her expenses. After the outbreak of World War 1, crowds came seeking messages from those who had been killed in action. Then Feda sent word to her medium that she should give up her public meetings where conditions were less than ideal, and start holding private sittings only.
From then on business was always almost too good. Because she was eager to give the solace of her messages to as many as possible, Mrs. Leonard often allowed more sittings a day that was good for her health. When Sir Oliver Lodge became interested in her work, he insisted that for the sake of preserving her mediumship, she should not have more than two or three sittings a day. To insure that she did not overwork, he reserved part of her time for the use of carefully screened sitters only. The publication of Raymond made Mrs. Leonard a celebrity. From then on she led a rich and full life as one of the most prominent people in her field.
A description of her during this era shows us a tall woman who carried herself well. She was of fair complexion, with light brown hair worn in a bun on the back of her neck. She had extremely blue eyes. Having a green thumb, she spent much time in the garden with her flowers. She had numerous pets, loved all animals, and has always been active in movements for their protection. Her first interests were her husband and her home; and her husband's career was more important to her than her own while he was on the stage. When he had ' his final illness in his sixties, she gave up everything to nurse him.
As to disposition, Mrs. Leonard is quiet and tranquil, forthright, simple and direct. She is gracious, with a native dignity and kindliness. Now in her early eighties, she looks about sixty, and has the erect and energetic bearing of an even younger woman. Still a vital and interesting person, poised, wise, and serene, she is truly a great lady.
There was never once any question of fraud or dishonesty during her entire career. Those who knew her well were convinced of her complete veracity and of her interest in trying to acquire for her sitters the most accurate evidence possible.
The Reverend Charles Drayton Thomas, one of her most constant investigators, had no doubt of her personal sincerity, candor, and caution. Mrs. Leonard, he said, freely entered into the spirit of investigation in a way which would meet all the standards of the Society for Psychical Research. He found both Mrs. Leonard and Feda always cooperative, even to the point of sometimes themselves proposing crucial tests of evidence.
At the beginning of Dr. Walter Franklin Prince's third sitting with Mrs. Leonard in 1927, she asked, Are you Dr. Walter Prince. On my acknowledgment," he has written, she remarked that as she had heard, since the last sitting, that Dr. Prince was in England, it occurred to her that I might be he, so she thought she had better tell me.
Mrs. Lydia W. Allison attests that: Mrs. Leonard's reliability and scrupulous honesty are vouched for by all her regular sitters whom I have met. [Lydia W. Allison, Leonard and Soule Experiments in Psychical Research, Boston Society for Psychic Research, Boston, 1929.] Mrs. Allison was an ardent Psychical researcher for over a third of a century, active in both the British and American Societies for Psychical Research. After receiving from the medium some information about the American Society which was correct in every detail, she wrote to Sir Oliver Lodge, asking if he thought the medium might possibly be passing on information acquired in a normal, not supernormal, manner. She quotes his reply:
July 2, 1924
DEAR MRS. ALLISON,
... You ask my opinion concerning Mrs. Leonard's trustworthiness in disclosing any normal information which she may have acquired. I write therefore to say that I have absolute confidence in her complete and transparent honesty; and if she definitely says that she has not read a book or a publication, her statement may be depend ed upon. Whenever any leakage has occurred through a previous sitter or otherwise, she has been careful to tell me of the fact whenever it had come to her conscious knowledge. She is very careful about her reading and abstains from reading a good deal of what might interest her, for fear of thereby spoiling evidence. She is quite alive to the importance of her statements in this respect; and I regard her as an exceedingly honest and straightforward woman . . .
(Signed) OLIVER LODGE
Now that Mrs. Leonard has been introduced, we will hear from her personally very little in this book. It is the sitters, the Feda control, and the alleged spirit communicators who will take up the rest of our time. From now on, whenever we deal with Mrs. Leonard she will almost always be in trance.
Extracts from The Mediumship of Mrs. Leonard by Suzy Smith
University Books:. 1964. (ISBN: 0-8117-2341-0) Many persons who attended Mrs. Leonard s sittings became convinced they had communicated with the dead: this was enough to satisfy them. But others sought to receive material so veridical it would stand up to scientific analysis as survival evidence. Therefore, they established a framework of painstaking supervision and kept exact records of everything said. For over fifty years, Mrs. Leonard was studied by the best investigators of the British and American Societies of Psychical Research.
To read the full book click on link below
Books and extracts taken that touch on the Medium Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
Books and Reports on Leonard Mediumship.Psychic Science 16, no. 4 (January 1938).
Broad, C. D. Lectures on Psychical Research. New York: Humanities Press, 1962.
Carington, W. W. Telepathy. London: 1945.
Hall, Radcliffe, and (Una) Lady Troubridge. On a series of Sittings with Mrs. Osborne Leonard. Proceedings of the Society for Psychic Research 30.
Heywood, Rosallind. Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard: A Biographical Tribute. Journal of the Society for Psychic Research 45 (1969).
Leonard, Gladys Osborne. My Life In Two Worlds. London: Cassell, 1931.
Lodge, Sir Oliver J. Raymond or Life and Death. London: Metheun; New York: George H. Doran, 1916.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.
Salter, W. H. Trance Mediumship: An Introductory Study of Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard. London: Society for Psychical Research, 1962.
Smith, Susy. The Mediumship of Mrs. Leonard. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1964.
Thomas, C. Drayton. Life beyond Death with Evidence. N.p., 1928.
. Some New Evidence for Human Survival. London: Collins, 1922.
Thomas, John F. Beyond Normal Cognition: An Evaluative and Methodological Study of the Mental Content of Certain Trance Phenomena. Boston: Boston Society for Psychical Research, 1937. Reprint, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms, n.d.
Gladys Osborne was born on May 28, 1882, at Lytham, on the coast of Lancaster, in England. She was the eldest of four children born of Isabel and William Osborne. Her father was a wealthy yachting entrepreneur, and for the first part of Gladys' life, money was no problem.
As often happens with many natural Mediums, Mrs. Leonard exhibited early signs of her sensitive nature. In her autobiography, My Life in Two Worlds, she explains:
"Every morning . . . I saw visions of most beautiful places. In whatever direction I happened to be looking would gradually come valleys, gentle slopes, lovely trees and banks covered with flowers of every shape and hue . . . The most entrancing part to me was the restful, velvety green of the grass that covered the ground of the valley and the hills. Walking about . . . were people who looked radiantly happy. They were dressed in graceful flowing draperies, for the greater part, but every movement, gesture and expression suggested in an indefinable and yet positive way a condition of deep happiness, a state of quiet ecstasy."
She did not look upon these visions as anything abnormal. However, an inner sense guided her to keep silent about them, until one morning, at breakfast, she said to her father, "Isn't that a specially beautiful place we are seeing this morning?" Inasmuch as her father did not understand these visions, from that time forward she was forbidden to look upon these "happy valleys."
As Mrs. Leonard approached adolescence, she experienced great changes in her life. Her family underwent great financial loss and, from then on, she had to manage for herself. She trained her already lovely voice and then did some work in opera and theatrical companies, singing and dancing in various leads and comedy parts. During this part of her life, while she was singing at a local Spiritualist church, a medium told her that her guides were preparing her for a "great spiritual work." She accepted the message, albeit not knowing quite what to do with it.
On December 18, 1906, her mother died. That evening, she had been staying with a friend. Although her mother had not been well, no one suspected that she was seriously ill. At 2:00 a.m., Gladys awakened with a strange feeling. She relates the story:
"I looked up and saw in front of me, but about five feet above the level of my body, a large, circular patch of light. In this light I saw my mother quite distinctly. Her face looked several years younger than I had seen it a few hours before . . . She gazed down on me for a moment, seeming to convey to me an intense feeling of relief and a sense of safety and well-being. Then the vision faded. I was wide awake all the time, quite conscious of my surroundings."
The next morning she learned that her mother had died at 2:00 a.m.
Shortly thereafter, Gladys met an actor named Frederick Leonard, who later became her devoted husband and lifelong friend. From this point forward, her life as a medium took some definite directions.
Although Mrs. Leonard knew nothing of her guides, she had an inner compulsion to investigate the philosophies of Spiritualism and psychic research. She knew that the only way this could be done with dedication and responsibility was for her and her husband to remain in the London area. So, despite better offers elsewhere, they decided to accept the low-paying theatrical jobs in London. It was very difficult for the Leonards to make ends meet, but they knew that there was a greater plan in store for them and they would cope with the current situation, as best they could, until this plan became revealed.
During one of her engagements, Mrs. Leonard met two sisters, whom she called Florence and Nellie, who were interested in Spiritualism. Florence suggested that the three of them sit around a table to see what, if anything, would happen. So they made an appointment to sit regularly during the hour's break in the evening performance. It took quite some time for anything to happen, but finally on the 27th evening the table began to tilt up and down. Using the old table-tilting method with the alphabet, a series of evidential messages began pouring forth. It was during these table sittings that Mrs. Leonard was introduced to her guide, Feda. Apparently, Feda was a Hindu girl who had married Mrs. Leonard's great-great-grandfather, William Hamilton. On the eve of her return to England with her husband, sometime around 1800, Feda died after giving birth to a son. She had been at the time only thirteen years old. It should be noted that the guide's real name was not Feda, but rather one much too long to be practical. It was Mrs. Leonard who chose letters in the name and called the guide Feda.
"Feda told me . . . that she had been watching over me since I was born, waiting for me to develop my psychic powers so that she could put me into a trance . . . I must confess that the idea of going into a trance did not appeal to me." Despite her objection, there was a work to be done, and just as with so many of the truly dedicated workers for Spirit, it was not long before Mrs. Leonard decided to place the work ahead of herself and her concerns and allow herself to become entrance by Feda. Thus began her long life of dedicated service as a medium.
Mrs. Leonard was one of the most thoroughly investigated mediums of the twentieth century. For more than fifty years she gave remarkable evidence of personal survival to countless sitters. Perhaps the most significant in her life was a series of sittings she gave to Sir Oliver Lodge, the renowned physicist. In 1915, he and Lady Lodge visited Mrs. Leonard, anonymously at first. With the information given by Feda, they were convinced that they were communicating with their son Raymond, who had recently been killed in the war. Sir Oliver was not one to accept mediumistic utterances blindly, and he put Mrs. Leonard through a severe series of tests. But the evidence kept coming forth, and it became impossible to deny the obvious: Raymond lived on. Sir Oliver Lodge's book, Raymond, or Life After Death, is an examination of his search for survival evidence.
Investigations into Mrs. Leonard's mediumship were conducted by the world's most noted psychic researchers of the time: Rev. C. Drayton Thomas, Rev. Vale Owen, James Hewat McKenzie, Mrs. W. H. Salter, and Whately Carington, to name but a few. She was subjected to very close scrutiny, not for any moral reasons, but because all noted mediums were being investigated at this time. Amazingly enough, she never seemed to be bothered by this, for she knew that she had nothing to hide in her work.
The material which came through Mrs. Leonard did so in a variety of ways, many of which were used by the researchers to determine its origin. They include:
For a complete list of investigations on Mrs. Leonard's mediumship, you may consult the Society for Psychical Research - Combined Index, Part III, pages 50 through 52, and Part IV, page 104.
What, in my opinion, is most interesting about Mrs. Leonard's mediumship is the way in which she and Feda worked together. Mrs. Leonard was, primarily, an evidential medium. However, rather than relating clairvoyant images and clairaudient messages to the sitters, herself, Feda would entrance Mrs. Leonard, and it was Feda who would give the actual messages from the Spirit people.
Mrs. Leonard functioned as a trance medium, with Feda controlling her. In that state, Feda, herself, acted as a message medium and related what she saw and heard from others in Spirit. What we have, here, are two mediums -- one in body and one in Spirit -- both working together, as one channel for communication. Absolutely fascinating!
A good deal of the research done with Mrs. Leonard revolved around Feda's relating how she worked with the medium and how she, herself, was able to link with the various Spirit people and relate their messages through Mrs. Leonard. One would think that, with this setup, Feda would very easily be able to see and hear what others, in Spirit, had to say; but, such was not the case. Even though Feda was in Spirit, she had to mentally "reach out" to the various Spirit communicators and invite them to draw closer -- in terms of vibration -- to the circle of energy-consciousness which was established around Mrs. Leonard at the time of the sitting. In other words, until they "stepped" into that light, Feda was neither able to see nor hear the Spirit people with any real degree of clarity.
All mediums know that the key to successful Spirit communication lies in establishing a strong vibrational link with the Spirit people.
Hundreds of pages of the Society for Psychical Research's Proceedings were devoted to the Leonard mediumship. Personally, I learned more about how mediumship works from the research done on Mrs. Leonard's mediumship and from what Feda related about how she worked with the medium and the Spirit communicators than from any other source, bar none. It really does represent an amazing wealth of information and insight into the details and intricacies of Spirit communication. I would recommend to both beginners and veteran mediums: Consult these Proceedings. You will learn an amazing amount about your own mediumship and what you can do to increase its effectiveness.
Even though Mrs. Leonard never lacked for work as a medium and was often surrounded by many of England's finest minds, she considered herself an ordinary woman using a means of communication which, to her, was just as natural as talking on the telephone. She was always open to investigation and never succumbed to the temptation of cheating. She had a firm understanding of mediumship and knew that one does not simply turn it on and off. When she found herself unable to work properly -- something which rarely happened -- she would accept this and acknowledge that fact to the sitter. When her husband became very ill and needed nearly constant attention, all work with mediumship ceased and she serviced him in his time of need.
In the forward to Mrs. Leonard's autobiography, Sir Oliver Lodge wrote:
"To communicate with the spiritual world most of us require the services of a human being with an organism trained to allow itself to be used by other intelligences, who are thus able to demonstrate their existence and to send messages of affection or comfort. Mrs. Leonard is such a medium and has proved herself in the past to be the best or one of the best that I have known."
This represents just one of the many testimonials concerning the fine work and character of Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard. Her work, recorded in the annals of psychic research, represents a great source of understanding and dedication to the work of Spirit. In her work, she set an example of honesty, integrity, and professionalism which, to this day, may be used as a basis of all types of mediumship.
On March 10, 1968, at the age of 85, during her sleep, Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard quietly passed out of the body, in order to continue her work on that higher realm of Spirit.
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© 1995 - 2013